(Alexandru Zdrobau on Unsplash)
Waking up without caffeine. Sleeping without zolpidem.
Do you have an energy crash in the afternoon? Do you have struggles with sleep?
What’s to be done?
Many many possibilities—how do we get started?
1) Find out your starting place. Imagine you have a map to go for a hike. If you don’t know where you are starting it’s not much use. Same with energy crashes and sleep.
What is the starting point? What is going on now?
Track your food.
Track your drinking—alcoholic, yes, and all the others, too.
Track your sleep—what time do you go to bed? Get to sleep? Wake up? In the night? In the morning?
Once you know what’s going on you can make adjustments and see if you are affecting your outcomes.
2) Where do you want to go? Make a plan and then begin tweaking one thing at a time to see what happens. Discover your particular needle movers. This may be a simple or complex process, of course, but being thorough and attentive—being intentional will pay off. Promise.
If you feel that you need professional help your records will help you get the support you need—rather than a practitioner “throwing spaghetti” at you to see what sticks, you will be able to work together from an informed place. That is win for everyone in my book.
Basic sleep “hygiene”, otherwise known as Things We Didn’t Know We Didn’t Know:
1) Are you going to bed at roughly the same time each night? Getting up at roughly the same time in the morning?
2) Are you making sure your body is finished digesting well before you try to sleep? Food takes priority in our bodies. It is suggested we stop eating 3 hours before sleep. If our body is busy digesting it cannot shift over properly for its sleep activities. The body is hard at work when we are resting—let’s set it up for success.
3) Speaking of—are you hydrating sufficiently during the day so you don’t feel a need to drink a lot in the evening? I make a concerted effort not to drink much after 9pm. I do not like waking to pee in the night. Nope.
4) Light. Bright light in the eyes in the morning turns off the sleep cycle. That is super important to make sound sleep later possible. Dim lights in the evening—meaning red/amber/yellow lights not the bluish-white of LED, CFLs, and screens lights—sends our brain the message that it is time to switch to night mode, sleep mode. And we get better sleep—we don’t lay down “tired and wired” because our brains are over-stimulated by the blue end of the light spectrum.
5) Temperature. Ideally in the mid-60’s (F) for sleeping. Use blankets rather than having the heat elevated. “Sleeping cold” supports the body in its many intricate nighttime processes. Did you know our organs—including the brain—get a scrub down in the night? Yes. And if we are too warm this can be interrupted.
While we sleep, the brain literally shrinks to allow 60% more brain fluids in and around it as it goes through a wash cycle, getting it fresh and ready for another day of wakefulness. When we skip this step, we potentially open ourselves to many chronic conditions—including dementia.
A few other things to keep in mind are:
1) Exercise. Early in the day.
2) If you tend to awaken in the middle of the night, your blood sugars may be out of whack. One may to tweak this is to add some healthy carbs to a little snack that also contains fat. I’m thinking sweet potato with butter and cinnamon rather than microwave popcorn. And I invite you to consult with a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner to help you sort this out. Ahem.
3) Stress management in the daytime. A wind down routine with gratitude, prayer and meditation. Soothing music. Journaling.
4) And a complete reset of your sleep-wake cycle can be had by going camping for a few days—and by camping I mean sleeping outside with no lights and devices. Not big ole fancy RV camping with all the comforts of home. That would rather defeat the purpose. Ha.
Reach out if I can support you. Reach out if these ideas support you. And be on the lookout for a virtual retreat in the next month or so. I intend to do a half-day experience based on sleep support. It will be very, ah, restful.
Meanwhile—the next sugar-detox and health transformation class, Meet You Where You’re At, begins March 17th. The retreat I mentioned I above will be included in the purchase price for MYWYAT. Cool.
What are you waiting for? I only have a few spots left, so let’s chat!